The Japanese House latest EP is a force to be reckoned with

The Japanese House - Chewing Cotton Wool
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Dirty Hit and their legion of indie-tinged acts have arguably pioneered the use of artful autotune and synth over recent years – for better, or possibly for worse (I’m looking at you, Notes on a Conditional Form). But nobody does it quite like The Japanese House, also known as Amber Bain. 

Her latest, the Chewing Cotton Wool EP epitomises this. Forlorn and dripping in distortion, the four tracks are some of her most heartwrenching yet. Which, if you didn’t know, is no mean feat – every one of her songs are tailor-made to have you crying in the shower. Yet, she’s managed once again to increase the tears that little bit more. Though opener ‘Sharing Beds’ comes in at under two minutes long and with scarcely any lyrics, it still manages to astound you with the intimacy it offers. 

Whilst ‘Something Has To Change’ offers a more upbeat side to the artist, that earnestness and invitation into the world of The Japanese House remains. Less minimalist and more dreamy, hazy pop, it’s a refreshingly uplifting moment amongst the more sombre aspects of the EP.

By and large one of the most stunning tracks on the EP, ‘Dionne’ is pure magic. Largely due to the feature from the one and only Justin Vernon, the track’s rising piano lifts the brutally honest, mellowness of the lyrics to something almost anthemic. It was kind of a given that their voices would melt perfectly together, but I don’t think anybody quite expected it to this extent. The gloriously malfunctioning production that made 22, A Million so beloved elevates The Japanese House’s usual electronic flair to new heights – so much so that the track practically glistens. 

The titular track, however, is the real heartbreaker of the EP. As Bain recalls a past relationship, the intensity that has lingered throughout the previous three tracks suddenly leaps into view. Stripped back but lyrically ruinous, ‘Chewing Cotton Wool’ is almost hard to listen to. Is it intrusive to hear somebody recall the intricacies of a relationship in so much detail? It kinda feels like it. Each verse plunges you further into the depths of this relationship, shattering another piece of your heart with every line. 

Bristling with even more emotion than we’ve come to expect from her, Chewing Cotton Wool is a force to behold. It might only rank in at thirteen minutes long, but it’s devastating recollection of lost love leaves its mark for much longer.

Haiku Review:
Chewing Cotton Wool, 
Might bring a tear to your eye, 
It defo did mine.

Listen to The Japanese House on Spotify. Check out our print magazine featuring, girl in red, Sorry, Dream Wife, Arlo Parks and more HERE